10 months ago
Previously, the Typical Student team told you how CU Colorado Springs Prof Secretly Photographed Students for Government-Backed Facial Recognition Research. Now, a New York school district pilots its facial recognition program this week. And that's despite the New York State Education Department order to "wait until a standard is finalized for data privacy and security for all state educational agencies." So, what's going on?
Is The Big Brother Watching Students?
The statement issued by Robert LiPuma, the director of Lockport school district calls the data collection policy for its facial recognition system "sound enough" to begin testing it on campuses starting June 3. This announcement had a lot of brows raised. No wonder, as the Lockport pilot comes "amid increased scrutiny of facial recognition’s efficacy across the US and growing concerns by civil rights activists that the tech may serve to further entrench societal biases." As reported by BuzzFeed News, at the moment, Lockport has spent $1.4 million of the $4.2 million it was awarded through the New York Smart Schools Bond Act to get its system up and running.
Raising Privacy Concerns
Reports have come in earlier this month that San Francisco prohibited police from using facial recognition. Other US cities also join in. According to BuzzFeed, rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez "has expressed concern in a congressional hearing on the technology last week that facial recognition could be used as a form of social control."
Johanna Miller, director of the Education Policy Center at New York Civil Liberties Union who investigated the rollout of Lockport facial recognition system, commented as follows: "Lockport has demonstrated a reckless disregard for the privacy of their students and the larger school community for far too long. We are calling on the state legislature to adopt a moratorium on face surveillance to protect every student in the state from the reckless use of harmful technology."
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